Centre International de Recherche

sur l’Environnement et le Développement


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The international research center on environment and development (Cired) was founded in 1973 by Professor Ignacy Sachs at Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. In the wake of the Stockholm conference, the purpose of the laboratory was to study the tensions between environment, long-term resource management, and economic development. At Cired, Pr. Sachs developed the concept of ’eco-development’ as a way of reducing tensions between these variables by playing on lifestyles, technological choices and spatial planning. Today, Cired is still profoundly influenced by the challenge set up by its founder, i.e., responding to the Club de Rome’s thesis about limits to growth by devising strategies that articulate environmental and development goals — better known today as sustainable development.


Research programs conducted at Cired focus on the relationships between environment, natural resources and development, with focus on three key domains: energy, urban infrastructure, and agriculture and forestry---which imposes a constant dialogue between social sciences, natural sciences and engineering knowledge. To do so, the research team is pluridisciplinary, with people from diverse intellectual backgrounds, and Cired strives to preserve a good articulation between forward-looking modeling — viewed as a tool to integrate knowledge stemming from many disciplines — and more qualitative views about regulations, institutions and deliberation processes.


Due to its pluridisciplinary and pluri-thematic nature, several research and high education institutions support Cired. Today, Cired is a joint venture (unité mixte de recherche) between five institutions: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), École des PontsParisTech (ENPC), École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), AgroParisTech and Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD).
Since 1998, Cired has been located on the Paris Jardin Tropical campus. Researchers from the unit are also based elsewhere in Paris, Montpellier and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso).